Toni Breidinger, 21, started competing on Saturday with the 2021 ARCA season-opener at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida. This season, Breidinger will be competing in a limited ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, driving a Chevrolet SS and a Chevrolet Silverado. With her first race in the truck series, Breidinger who is of Lebanese descent will officially make history as the first-ever Arab-American female driver to participate in any NASCAR national series, according to NASCAR.
“Daytona is going to be the biggest race of my career, but I’m ready for it,” Breidinger said before her debut. “It’s going to be a competitive race, but I know that the Young’s Motorsports team will prepare me a fast race car and we can contend for a top 10 finish. That is our goal, a top 10 finish.”
Breidinger is part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, an initiative that creates more inclusive racing teams. The program has created many opportunities for others, including making Brehanna Daniels NASCAR’s first Black woman to hold the crucial job as a tire changer.
On race Saturday during her first race, Breidinger survived a multi-car accident on lap 29, and climbed into the top 20. After the crash, she climbed in rankings, up to 12th place and then back to 14th, then up to 11th, with 50 laps down and 30 to go. With 20 laps to go, she was in 17th, and finally finished in the 18th spot, in a race that went into overtime.